11 Most Endangered Historic Places

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail

Year Listed: 2007
Location: New Mexico
Threat: Development

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Archeology study along the trail.

Credit: National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Significance

The earliest Euro-American trade route in the United States, the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, known for its austere physical beauty, rural solitude and remote isolation, is threatened by a $225 million commercial Spaceport, a venture planned adjacent to one of the most pristine segments of the Trail.  Camino Real is considered by many to be one of the largest and most important artifacts of the Spanish Colonial era in the United States and one of the most valuable single markers of the Hispanic experience in the Southwest.  On its U.S. side, the trail crosses a small section of West Texas in the El Paso area and then passes through the New Mexico counties of Doña Ana, Sierra, Socorro, Valencia, Bernalillo and Santa Fe.  The Trail is owned by many different entities as it traverses federal, tribal, state, county, municipal and private lands.  Heritage tourists continue to be inspired by the pure beauty of this resource, especially the segment known as the Jornada del Muerto, which remains - for now - largely untouched by modern-day development.